Book Flood takes its name after the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð (The book flood of Christmas). In Iceland books are given as gifts on Christmas Eve and then everyone spends the night reading. Doesn’t all that giving and reading just sound beautiful? Imagine if you could get just a little piece of that generosity and joy at any time of year. I think we can try.
So what is the Book Flood plan? Read a book and pass it on. Simple right? Let’s get more specific. I have read a really good book, not one I love and desperately want to read over and over forever, but one I think someone else might really enjoy too. To this end I want to pass it on to whomever might want it. There is only one condition: that they pay it forward in two ways. Passing on the book they receive AND picking a book they own and passing that on too. That means that they only give one book, and pass on two. Two people get a book they will hopefully enjoy and are encouraged to do the same. If the plan continues, the wave grows, flooding people with books, letting more and more people enjoy them.
The idea came to me in unfortunate circumstances. You may have heard of the social experiment which suggests sending books to a stranger passed onto you by someone up the chain. So it goes that you receive far more books than you send because you send one whilst a number of people send to you. I say it was unfortunate because it was only after I got involved that I read a piece very convincingly explaining why this was a book-based pyramid scheme where most of the people involved would lose out. Even if what I received was lovingly given and I was not requesting anyone’s life-savings, it made me a little sad that someone might be hopefully waiting for a much-loved book and never receive one at all. I had got involved because actually I loved the idea of passing on a fantastic piece of literature to a stranger, and to a lesser extent I’m always curious to find out what other people love and share. I have received some gorgeous books from complete strangers and it warmed my heart but I decided that in order to make amends in some way to those who would lose out I would try to at the very least pay it forward in some way.
This is not a project that gets you more than you give, it’s the opposite. The project is all about enjoying something you love and spreading that joy. If there is something we need more of its joy and personally I love books.
If you want to get involved, just print out tags (blook-flood-tags), attach them in the cover of the book you’d like to pass on, and give it away! The tag will explain a little and provide this link too to explain more.
I really do believe we can spread some real love with such simple acts. Let’s try!